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ILO calls for faster implementation of Bangla labour law
Oct '13
Opening the conference “Bangladesh 2013: The Rising Demand for Labour Standards”, ILO Deputy Director General Gilbert Houngbo called for faster implementation of the new labour law to protect workers after the Rana Plaza building collapse which killed 1,130 workers in Bangladesh six months ago.

Mr. Houngbo underlined the need to maintain the momentum for further improvement of labour standards, in accordance with ILO recommendations and the EU Sustainability Compact.

“It is regrettable that only after the recent tragic events in Bangladesh all relevant parties have begun to understand the importance of labour standards, both for human rights and social justice, and also for social and economic development”, the ILO’s Deputy Director-General for Field Operations and Partnerships said.

The meeting was organized by the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, with support of the ILO’s Bureau for Workers Activities (ACTRAV).

“There has been a regular and long-standing dialogue between the ILO supervisory mechanisms and the Government of Bangladesh around the steps needed to ensure full compliance with ILO Conventions. In particular, there has been much attention on the state of law and practice relating to the freedom of association and collective bargaining Conventions”, Mr Houngbo said.

He recalled several commitments made by government of Bangladesh at the Conference Committee on the Application of Standards this year “to bring the law and practice into conformity with Convention 87 and to continue to facilitate a simplified and effective registration process for trade unions”. “The Government has also committed to reviewing the special law on export processing zones to ensure better application of ILO Convention No.87”.

Mr. Houngbo welcomed “recent efforts made by all parties including the Government of Bangladesh and representatives of Bangladeshi employers’ and workers’ organizations by taking a series of actions in the right direction”.

On 22 October, the Government of Bangladesh and the International Labour Organization (ILO) had launched a major initiative – including a new Better Work programme -aimed at improving working conditions in the ready-made garment (RMG) industry in Bangladesh.

The RMG programme will provide technical support to building and fire safety assessments; strengthen and support labour, fire and building inspections; build occupational safety and health awareness, capacity and systems and provide rehabilitation and skills training for the victims of Rana Plaza and Tazreen Fashions, where 112 workers died in a fire in November 2012.

According to Mr. Houngbo, the ILO will continue to assist in the implementation of the agreement signed by the government and representatives of Bangladeshi employers’ and workers’ organizations “to ensure a more integrated approach to improving safety”.

“The ILO also assists the Government in the elaboration of new implementing regulations on industrial relations, especially those concerning elections of workers’ representatives”, Mr. Houngbo concluded.

International Labour Organization

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